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The Search Agency recently presented in an American Marketing Association webinar on SEO and Brand Building.  In our presentation, we discussed how changes to Google’s search algorithm over the past year were focused on improving the quality and relevance of its search results. This in combination with the arrival of several new search venues are impacting how online marketers approach SEO.  Specifically, we discussed how these changes are requiring online marketers to create and promote content that’s well branded and valuable to consumers.  Long gone are the days of buying links and over-optimizing content to drive search results.  Today, online marketers have to generate authentic content to build brand supporters and attract links online.

Search Engine  Optimization is Dead, Search Optimization is Alive and Well

The emergence of alternative forms of search, such as mobile, social, and app search, is changing how and where marketers need to be promoting their brand and content online.  It’s no longer sufficient to drive organic search results from desktop search.  Today, your brand needs to be present and participating across all relevant search channels, including Google+, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, Twitter, and Yelp.  Similarly, online marketers should optimize their brands across all relevant Google-controlled channels.  Services like Google Flights, Google Products, Google Places, and Search Plus provide exciting opportunities to set your business apart from the competition on the search results page.

For further information on new search venues and best practices on marketing your brand and optimizing content across these channels, check out the following resources from The Search Agency.

  • The Search Agency Best Practices: Optimizing Your Online Presence with Google Places (PDF)- Often overlooked, Google Places is a free resource for promoting your business and location online on both desktop and mobile searches.  In our best practices document we explore how the service could improve your current online and geo-marketing efforts, and provide best practices for setting up and optimizing your Google Places account.
  • The Search Agency POV: Facebook’s New Premium Ads and Brand Pages (PDF)- Facebook recently launched an exciting new suite of earned and paid media advertising options.  Here we explore how these new features will impact online marketers and discuss best practices for optimizing your content marketing strategy with Facebook Ads.
  • Back to the Pinning Board: Pinterest- Wondering what Pinterest is and what all the hype has been about?  The Search Agency explores how Pinterest is impacting social media marketing and provides best practices for promoting content on the service.
  • Walkthrough of YouTube’s Analytics Platform At the end of last year YouTube introduced an updated version of its Insights platform, YouTube Analytics.  Our presentation offers an in-depth explanation of the new reports available on the platform as well as tips for leveraging the reports to help you create content that’s more appealing to your viewers.
  • The Search Agency POV: Google+ (PDF)- Been shy about exploring Google’s social network Google Plus?  Our POV will walk you through the service’s features and provide some helpful tips for pushing your branded content out across the channel.

Google’s Ever-Evolving Search Algorithms

Google has been on a crusade over the years to improve the quality and relevance of its search results.  With the introduction of the Panda Updates and Search, Plus Your World, Google has started looking beyond a website’s linking profile and keyword volume to social signals, user engagement, and content freshness to better determine a page’s relevance and value.  These changes have fundamentally changed what marketers need to provide their audiences in order to gain approval from Google’s search algorithm.  Most importantly, these changes place new emphasis on the value of high-quality content.  Creating authentic content that represents your brand will build brand supporters.  Enthusiastic about your brand, these brand supporters will in turn share your content with others in their online communities and link to your site.  What’s more, as Google becomes increasingly disapproving of paid linking strategies, “organically” acquired links attracted by high-quality content will help maintain and drive traffic long-term.

The following resources from The Search Agency are best practice documents on developing a content creation strategy and generating content that’s fun and engaging:

  • After the Panda Update: How Google Rewards Original, Relevant Online Content (PDF)- Google’s Panda Updates have significantly changed what defines “quality” in SEO.  Thanks to the series of updates over the past year, it’s more important than ever for online marketers to generate content that’s engaging and enlightening across all available media channels.  In this document we provide best practices and strategies for building out great content and promoting your authority online.
  • Categorizing Your Content Creation for Optimal Freshness and QualityHow do you balance the need for fresh content on your site with the need for quality content?  In this best practices post we outline a three-pronged approach to content categorization and production.
  • Lamenting the Death of the Crap Content Gang- Google’s Panda Update marked the end of several beloved “black hat” SEO practices, such as duplicating and spinning content.  In this roundup, The Search Agency explores why these practices had to die post-Panda and outlines what content creation pitfalls to avoid.

How do you bridge the gap between SEO and brand building?

Success in online marketing today is dependent upon your ability to create and promote a strong brand, which will build authority online.  To do so, online marketers should employ a balanced mix of marketing channels from PR to social media and SEO.  What’s more, marketers need to evolve their SEO strategies to focus on creating valuable, engaging content that can be marketed across all available relevant search venues.



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